Whatever Happened To Blair Warner From The Facts Of Life?

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From 1979 to 1988, "The Facts of Life" was a primetime television staple. The sitcom focused on the lives of a few girls and their housemother at an all-female boarding school. All of the main characters are memorable in their own way, with Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner taking the role of the beautiful, goody-two-shoes archetype.

Despite her good looks and acting chops, Whelchel has largely managed to keep herself out of the spotlight since "The Facts of Life" went off the air. Here's what she's been up to in the years since "The Facts of Life" ended.

She turned down an audition for the role of Rachel Green in Friends

We know "Friends" character Rachel Green as the role that really put Jennifer Aniston on the map. Though it's hard to believe now, Aniston wasn't the only one considered for the role. In an episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now? Whelchel revealed that she was asked to read for the part. Though she said she had a feeling the show would see tons of success, she ultimately didn't feel comfortable playing the part because of its heavy sex themes. 

Despite the show's popularity, Whelchel said she doesn't regret not taking the role. "I don't regret not taking that opportunity," Whelchel said in the interview. "My kids, on the other hand, I remember my daughter once said, 'Are you telling me that Brad Pitt could have been my father?'"

She left acting to focus on her family

Once "The Facts of Life" went off the air, Whelchel all but disappeared from the silver screen for a time. According to her website, she left Hollywood after she got married and gave birth to three children in a span of three years, becoming a stay-at-home mom. 

"I loved acting and I'm grateful for all the opportunities I had but nothing came close to the joy of being a mother," she wrote on her site. But don't write her off just yet. She also shared she's learned to never say never, adding, "I've decided to throw my acting hat back in the ring and go another round in Hollywood."

Her faith is really important to her

Though Whelchel revealed on the 100 Huntley Street show that she wasn't raised in a church-going family, eventually, faith became an extremely important part of her life. "It felt like every time I walked through those church doors, it felt like my heart had found its home," Whelchel said of finding her passion for religion. Religion remained an integral part of her life since her childhood, and she even went on to travel and give religious lectures. 

"I travel and my message is about the love of God and grace that is available to us if we dare to receive it and sometimes it's more difficult to receive grace than even believe that it's been given," she told Fox Newsadding that her faith doesn't mean she necessarily fits a certain mold. "I think that's quite sad that if someone professes to be a Christian they are sometimes put into a really small Church box."

She became an author and life coach

Despite leaving the acting world behind for a while, Whelchel didn't stop working completely. Quite the contrary, in fact. She kept herself super busy, becoming a life coach and the author of over a dozen books in addition to traveling for religious lectures, according to her website. While many of her books center around religion and her faith (and helping others in their own religious journey), Welchel's books also include a memoir and a guide for parents considering homeschooling their children. 

In her work as a life coach, Whelchel utilizes Skype to aid clients in "creating a safe place to explore your desires, asking powerful questions to bring clarity and championing you to step confidently into the life you were created to live."

She rarely keeps in touch with her Facts of Life co-stars

Despite how close the actresses were during "The Facts of Life's" long primetime run, Whelchel wrote on her website that the girls have since drifted apart. "Other than seeing each other at an occasional function, our paths rarely cross," she wrote. "It's kind of like high school. We were best of friends, but then our lives all went in different directions."

In 2011, the cast reunited for the first time since the show ended at the TV Land awards and sat down for a feature on "Good Morning America." While they may not see each other often, their chemistry in 2011 was just as evident as ever.

She was on a season of Survivor

Whelchel ditched Blair's prissy image behind in 2012 when she joined the cast of "Survivor: Philippines." "I'm outdoorsy," she told People in 2012. "I love to exercise and be outside. I don't care what I'm wearing, and I don't care if I'm uncomfortable. I am nothing like Blair." Though she didn't win (Denise Stapley came out on top), she said her time on the reality show "was a wonderful experience," and admitted in a Youtube interview with WellBella that it was grueling both physically and mentally. 

"What I took home from the experience was more of an acceptance of all of me, not just the 'good' parts of me," she said. "The humanity that sometimes I've tried to pretend I don't struggle with."

She got divorced in 2012

According to Radar Online, at the age of 25 Whelchel married a much older man that her father chose for her. Unfortunately, they split up in 2012. In an appearance on "The Jeff Probst Show" (via Radar Online), she said she stayed with her husband long after she realized she didn't want to be in the marriage anymore because she believed in the commitment of marriage. "I stayed for my children. I stayed for... I thought it was the right thing to do," she told Probst. 

She revealed to People that the divorce was finalized just before she left to join Survivor, though she and her ex remain friends and even watched the premiere of the show together. "I just never thought it would happen to me," she said. "It was painful to realize that it wasn't going to work out. We will always be friends. And we will always be family, too."

She returned to acting in 2013

Despite her long hiatus from Hollywood, Whelchel has recently made a return to the acting world in a move she admitted on "The Mungle Show" was nerve-wracking. "This is really hard starting all over," she said. "I hope this works and I hope I can make a living and I hope somebody will hire me!" 

Her comeback started with a role in "A Madea Christmas," a role she landed thanks in part to her "Survivor" appearance. "Tyler Perry is a 'Survivor' fan," she explained. "He was following me on 'Survivor' and producing the movie at the same time and called my agent to see if I might want to audition."

Then, in 2014, she starred in the Hallmark Channel's made-for-TV movie "For Better or for Worse." She even got the chance to act alongside her former "Facts of Life" castmate Kim Fields. "When they said that they were gonna hire Kim Fields to play my assistant I just thought, 'oh man, that just sounds too good to pass up,'" Whelchel said in an interview with Us Weekly. Whelchel also shared on "The Mungle Show" that getting back into acting was easy. "I loved every minute of it," she said.

Her dream is starring in another sitcom

Since "The Facts of Life" was so successful, it's no surprise that Whelchel dreams of returning to the small screen. In a 2015 interview with Justin Root, she revealed she'd love to get the chance to work on another sitcom, especially if she was able to work with her daughter Clancy. She also revealed that if she could, she'd write herself into the "Modern Family" script. Not a bad choice! In the meantime, she told Root, "I'm also doing some work with the Hallmark channel, movies and backdoor pilots for a one-hour series for them and I'm creating it."

Her acting career began picking up speed in 2016

After "A Madea Christmas" and "For Better or for Worse," Welchel's acting career continued to gain momentum again. In 2016 Whelchel appeared in two films, the made-for-TV "Hearts of Spring" and the Canadian production "A Snow Capped Christmas." And it turns out acting might just run in the family. 

In "Hearts of Spring," Whelchel's co-star was her own daughter Clancy (making her dream of working with her as she mentioned to Justin Root a reality). Though she mentioned on her website that she didn't want her children to get into show business, she told Fox News that she'd support her daughter's dreams "as long as she got a college degree" — so Clancy got a four-year degree in only two years and promptly moved to California. Whether the two of them ultimately get their sitcom, only time will tell.

She had a role in the ABC special Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes

Fans of "The Facts of Life" got a holiday gift in December 2021 when some of the show's stars, including Lisa Whelchel, gathered together for an episode of ABC's "Live in Front of a Studio Audience." Per Today, Whelchel, along with Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields, were involved in the nostalgic reunion, which included a reenactment of the Season 3 "Fact of Life" episode "Kids Can Be Cruel," with Whelchel singing the iconic theme song — in uniform, no less. Whelchel didn't reprise the role of Blair Warner, though. That honor went to "Friends" star Jennifer Aniston. Meanwhile, Allison Tolman, Gabrielle Union, Kathryn Hahn, and Ann Dowd filled in as Natalie, Tootie, Jo, and Mrs. Garrett.

Whelchel wrote on Instagram, "Just now coming up for air after one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I had soooo much fun being a part of @abcnetwork's #liveinfrontofastudioaudience. Not enough space to express the honor and gratitude and joy I feel — for so many reasons."

Fans were delighted to see Whelchel in action, with some of them taking to Twitter to comment on her still-youthful looks. As one put it, "Lisa Whelchel looks like she's been using shea butter, drinking water and minding her business since #factsoflife went off the air."

Lisa Whelchel became a TV host

If you're missing Lisa Whelchel on your TV screen, you can catch her hosting MeTV's "Collector's Call." The reality series showcases the many things people collect, from celebrity memorabilia to TV show merch to toys. The show has a twist, though. Not stopping at simply highlighting the fascinating things people collect, it also puts them in the hot seat by making them choose between holding on to some of their most treasured possessions or trading some for a priceless item to add to their collection.

The show has been on the air since 2019, and Whelchel has loved the opportunity to host "Collector's Call." In an interview with Coming Soon, the "Facts of Life" star said, "there's just so much about the show that makes it fabulous that I was only surprised in that I was glad that enough people tuned in to get as hooked as I knew they would be."

She's a doting grandmother

Lisa Whelchel is clearly devoted to her family, even taking time off from her acting career to focus on raising her kids. What you might not know, though, is that she's not just a loving mom but also a doting grandma. In a 2021 interview with "Extra," Whelchel spoke with host Billy Bush via video call and had a cute baby sitting on her lap. Bush expressed his surprise that someone as youthful looking has a grandchild, saying, "You do not age! Give me the key, are you vegan?"

Whelchel jokingly answered, "No, I'm Southern. I am like the opposite of vegan."

The "Facts of Life" star regularly posts pictures of her adorable grandbabies on her Instagram, and it's clear that they have a special bond. They even have a special nickname for her — Whelchel revealed on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" that her grandchildren call her "Coco Mama" instead of grandma. How cute!

She has a Facts of Life group chat with her former co-stars

While Blair Warner and the rest of the Eastland girls may not be able to hang out together as much as they'd like, the "Facts of Life" alums do keep each other updated on the major milestones of their lives. In an interview with "Today," Lisa Whelchel revealed, "We have a group text that we're on. And anytime there's a birthday, or a death, or somebody does a show, we're all very supportive."

Nancy McKeon, Kim Fields, and Mindy Cohn aren't the only people from Whelchel's "Facts of Life" days on her birthday card list. She paid tribute to producer Norman Lear on his 100th birthday, writing on Instagram, "To say, 'You changed my life' would be an understatement. To say, 'You changed television' would also be an understatement. Thank you! I'm so grateful for your impact on my life. May this momentous year surprise you with some of the happiest moments of your life."

Lear, a producer, is behind many of TV's greatest hits, including "The Facts of Life," which was produced through his company, Tandem Productions.